MAKING RENT STRIKES COOL
Campaigns within the confines of University Accommodation have to be built within a year. Rent strikers will mostly be freshers who know nothing about Cut the Rent campaigns or rent market prices. Given they can’t all be politicised in that time, rent strikes must become the cool thing for freshers to do at your university -- this will give you the numbers necessary to win. Trying to promote self image and being edgy is not just a sound political strategy, it’s a vital goal. Here are some hot takes on how to make your campaign cool af:
Graphics: Design of leaflets, stickers, social media pages, events and banners should all be as stylised as possible. If you don’t have the time to design your own, you can re-appropriate from other Cut The Rent groups. We have designed stuff which can be changed easily, see here. If you’re stuck for what programme to use for video or graphics, feel free to message us!
Banners: There’s an easy cheat way of giving your banners the right look. All you need is banner material (cloth), duct tape and some spray paint. First write the message you want on the banner with the duct tape. Then spray paint the rest of the banner with the tape still on and wait for it to dry. After removing the tape, you’re set! Tracing from a projector is another good option.
No pyro, no party (Smoke grenades): Most notably used by football ultras, pyro allows you to take really good campaign photos which you can later use on social media and leaflets. It’s best to get smoke grenades as they work far better during the day then flares which work better at night. Smoke grenades can be picked up from most airsoft shops or online, while flares can be found in marine supply shops.
Memes: Memes have obviously had a large role in both shaping and expressing young people's political narrative as well as expressing university campus humour. The small amount of time needed plus the role meme culture plays for people in university accommodation can help recruit even more people.
Strike nites: Parties at bars or in university halls are a simple way to build solidarity amongst strikers beyond the usual weekly meetings or demos. Bristol Cut the Rent’s recent fundraiser party secured money for campaign materials, whilst reaffirming the coolness of r e n t s t r i k e s. If you have a sympathetic SU, you can sort out a tab at your SU bar or do what UCL Cut the Rent did - grab three hundred cans of Red Stripe and claim it off the union.
Edgy demos: UCL are again perhaps the best example of this - burning an effigy of their vice-provost featured in Vice and other publications - providing vital campaign coverage to spur on more freshers to strike, and inspired school leavers to join their local CTR group when they got to uni.
Rent Strike’s bloc at recent free education demos has also led the way aesthetically, here’s how we did it:
Rentstrikebloc playlist here
Pink balaclavas/red bandanas
Red balloons and smoke grenades
Stapling our designs on SWP placards
Getting students from Photography and Film Societies to film and take photos (for free!).